kmt + science   93

Do algorithms reveal sexual orientation or just expose our stereotypes?
In late 2016, the paper motivating our physiognomy essay seemed well outside the mainstream in tech and academia, but as in other areas of discourse, what recently felt like a fringe position must now be addressed head on. Kosinski is a faculty member of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and this new study has been accepted for publication in the respected Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Much of the ensuing scrutiny has focused on ethics, implicitly assuming that the science is valid. We will focus on the science.
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tl,dr: it's not
learning  machine-learning  biology  science  argument 
4 days ago by kmt
If Susan Can Learn Physics, So Can You | Fledgling Physicist
If I can sit here and calculate the Debye temperature, you can too. If I can sit here and find Green’s functions, by god, you can too. If I can bang my head against my desk in frustration because I can’t figure out how to solve some crazy stat mech problem, you can too. If I can stay awake at night freaking out about the EPR paradox and the foundations of quantum mechanics, you damn well can too. Seriously. Instead of watching an extra hour of TV, go pick up a calculus textbook, or a book about the standard model – anything!

It’s no different than picking up a work of literature. It’s nothing more than trying to understand the world around you, learning to see it in new and different (and beautiful) ways. If I can learn physics, then so can you.
engineering  education  learning  physics  science  life  advice 
5 weeks ago by kmt
McNamara fallacy - Wikipedia
The McNamara fallacy (also known as quantitative fallacy[1]), named for Robert McNamara, the United States Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1968, involves making a decision based solely on quantitative observations (or metrics) and ignoring all others.
logic  psychology  science  methodology 
8 weeks ago by kmt
VVater VVitches | MetaFilter
ritual and arbitrary rules are important to open up intuition (cf. tarot & reading [ppl, geology, water]) - i'm sliding with flatbladet and Douglas Adams
metafilter  science  psychology  magic  intuition  methodology 
8 weeks ago by kmt
"I placed too much faith in underpowered studies:" Nobel Prize winner admits mistakes - Retraction Watch at Retraction Watch
Although it’s the right thing to do, it’s never easy to admit error — particularly when you’re an extremely high-profile scientist whose work is being dissected publicly. So while it’s not a retraction, we thought this was worth noting: A Nobel Prize-winning researcher has admitted on a blog that he relied on weak studies in a chapter of his bestselling book.

The blog — by Ulrich Schimmack, Moritz Heene, and Kamini Kesavan — critiqued the citations included in a book by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist whose research has illuminated our understanding of how humans form judgments and make decisions and earned him half of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics.
science  methodology  reference  people 
september 2017 by kmt
Men Have Always Used 'Science' to Explain Why They're Better Than Women
Sadly, the ideas espoused in his letter echo the same pseudoscience peddled by eugenicists and white supremacists for decades—and they’re unlikely to disappear anytime soon.
politics  science  argument 
august 2017 by kmt
Worst government leak: clueless agency moved everything to "The Cloud"
Sweden’s Transport Agency moved all of its data to “the cloud”, apparently unaware that there is no cloud, only somebody else’s computer. In doing so, it exposed and leaked every conceivable top secret database: fighter pilots, SEAL team operators, police suspects, people under witness relocation. Names, photos, and home addresses: the list is just getting started. The responsible director has been found guilty in criminal court of the whole affair, and sentenced to the harshest sentence ever seen in Swedish government: she was docked half a month’s paycheck.
science  privacy  read-later 
july 2017 by kmt
Where are the chemistry popular science books?
An easy straw poll is provided by the topic tags on the site. At the time of writing, there are 22 books under 'chemistry' as opposed to 97 maths, 126 biology and 182 physics. The distribution is inevitably influenced by editorial bias - but as the editor, I can confirm that the only conscious negative bias is my lack of enthusiasm for medical titles. I would love to include more good popular chemistry titles - but I don't see many.
chemistry  science  writing  books 
july 2017 by kmt
Visual Satellite Observer's Home Page
If you have ever star-gazed shortly after sunset or before sunrise, you have probably noticed one or two "stars" sailing gracefully across the sky. These are Earth-orbiting satellites, visible due to the reflection of the Sun's light off their surfaces toward the observer. Hundreds of satellites are visible to the unaided eye; thousands are visible using binoculars and telescopes. Observing satellites has many enthusiasts around the world.
astrophysics  science  space 
june 2017 by kmt
Before Copernicus | McGill-Queen’s University Press
In 1984, Noel Swerdlow and Otto Neugebauer argued that Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) explained planetary motion by using mathematical devices and astronomical models originally developed by Islamic astronomers in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Was this a parallel development, or did Copernicus somehow learn of the work of his predecessors, and if so, how? And if Copernicus did use material from the Islamic world, how then should we understand the European context of his innovative cosmology? Although Copernicus’s work has been subject to a number of excellent studies, there has been little attention paid to the sources and diverse cultures that might have inspired him.

Foregrounding the importance of interactions between Islamic and European astronomers and philosophers, Before Copernicus explores the multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-lingual context of learning on the eve of the Copernican revolution, determining the relationship between Copernicus and his predecessors. Essays by Christopher Celenza and Nancy Bisaha delve into the European cultural and intellectual contexts of the fifteenth century, revealing both the profound differences between “them” and “us,” and the nascent attitudes that would mark the turn to modernity. Michael Shank, F. Jamil Ragep, Sally Ragep, and Robert Morrison depict the vibrant and creative work of astronomers in the Christian, Islamic, and Jewish worlds. In other essays, Rivka Feldhay, Raz Chen-Morris, and Edith Sylla demonstrate the importance of shifting outlooks that were critical for the emergence of a new worldview.

Highlighting the often-neglected intercultural exchange between Islam and early modern Europe, Before Copernicus reimagines the scientific revolution in a global context.
books  science  history 
june 2017 by kmt
Fourmilab
This site is developed and maintained by John Walker, founder of Autodesk, Inc. and co-author of AutoCAD. A variety of documents, images, software for various machines, and interactive Web resources are available here; click on entries in the frame to the left to display a table of contents for that topic. Items which span more than one category are listed in all.
astronomy  reference  science  read-later 
may 2017 by kmt
Vectors Website Map
Vectors Website Map

01 may 17 / greg goebel / follow "gvgoebel" on twitter
* This page provides a list of all titles on the site. Please note that all written materials here are in the public domain. All bitmaps marked with "GVG / PD" are in the public domain, anything else I can't give permissions for. Feel free to repost or reuse all public-domain materials from this site, though crediting the source and providing a link to this site would be very much appreciated.

The Vectors website is dedicated to educational writings on science, technology, and history. Associated sites include:

AirVectors, an aircraft encyclopedia.

The DayVectors blog on science, technology, and sociopolitical trends.

My Amazon.com list of Kindle ebooks

A Flickr archive of photographs I've taken, including a fair number of aircraft, as well as retouch jobs of old paperback covers.
science  history  read-later  reference 
may 2017 by kmt
Teleskopos: How the telescope got its name – The Renaissance Mathematicus
In the first historical record of the telescope, a letter of introduction for its inventor, Hans Lipperhey, from the Councillors of Zeeland to the States General in Den Hague, this wonderful invention that would revolutionise astronomy had no name and was referred to as “a certain device, by means of which all things at a very great distance can be seen as if they were nearby, by looking through glasses…” Not exactly a phrase that rolls off the tongue. In the first printed account of this new invention, a French pamphlet reporting on the visit of the Siamese Ambassador to the Court of Prince Maurice of Nassau during which the telescope was first demonstrated in public, it is just referred to as ‘lunettes’ the French for glasses leading to a possible confusion with ordinary eye glasses or spectacles.
history  science  astronomy 
april 2017 by kmt
Overconfidence over the lifespan
This research investigated how different forms of overconfidence correlate with age. Contrary to stereotypes that young people are more overconfident, the results provide little evidence that overestimation of one’s performance or overplacement of one’s performance relative to that of others is correlated with age. Instead, the results suggest that precision in judgment (confidence that one knows the truth) increases with age. This result is strongest for probabilistic elicitations, and not present in quantile elicitations or reported confidence intervals. The results suggest that a lifetime of experience, rather than leading to better calibration, instead may increase our confidence that we know what we’re talking about.
psychology  academia  science 
january 2017 by kmt
Economists versus the Economy by Robert Skidelsky - Project Syndicate
Let’s be honest: no one knows what is happening in the world economy today. Recovery from the collapse of 2008 has been unexpectedly slow. Are we on the road to full health or mired in “secular stagnation”? Is globalization coming or going?
economics  politics  science  methodology 
december 2016 by kmt
WHY HARD: Why Electricity is Impossible to Understand
Why are my explanations different than usual? Because they're not based on earlier K-12 textbooks. Instead they're based on college-level physics textbooks, but I've translated the math into English. They're also based upon the intentional defeating of misconceptions: on the painful 'unlearning' I had to go through before I could gain an intuitive understanding of simple electrical physics. I kept a running record both of textbook errors and of useful simple concepts, as well as listing my own childhood misconceptions as I discovered them.
learning  physics  science  electronics  engineering 
november 2016 by kmt
Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops - The New York Times
LONDON — The controversy over genetically modified crops has long focused on largely unsubstantiated fears that they are unsafe to eat.

But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.
politics  science  food  biology  GMO 
october 2016 by kmt
KRISTIN SHRADER-FRECHETTE Tainted: How Philosophy of Science Can Expose Bad Science
Can philosophy of science make a difference to science?1 Or is it as useful as ornithology is to birds, as per the famous quip attributed to Richard Feynman? Kristin Shrader-Frechette has no patience for debating this question from first principles. Throughout her career she has instead demonstrated by example that philosophy of science can and should make a difference. And this is also the conceit of her latest book: to assemble together the many cases she has studied over the past decades (most previously published) in which scientific controversies can be illuminated and indeed resolved by careful application of knowledge developed in traditional philosophy of science. But not just any controversies; Shrader-Frechette’s focus is squarely on what she calls ‘welfare-related science’ (p. 6)—that is, scientific research that bears directly on human and animal health and well-being, and most importantly bears on corporate profits. The safety of nuclear waste storage, the habitats of endangered animals, and the health effects of pesticides and radiation are some of her examples. It is this combination of high economic and moral stakes that makes some scientific knowledge a valuable commodity whose content all too often benefits those who pay for it. This is not a rare occurrence. As Shrader-Frechette repeatedly reminds us, ‘at least in the United States, 75% of all science is funded by special interests in order to achieve specific practical goals’ (p. 2). When philosophers of science use their skills to redress the balance—that is, to evaluate the weight of evidence in a controversy blighted by asymmetries in power and money—they practice ‘liberation science’, of which this book is both a primer and a manifesto.
philosophy  philosophy-of-science  science  academia  read-later 
september 2016 by kmt
The natural selection of bad science | Open Science
Poor research design and data analysis encourage false-positive findings. Such poor methods persist despite perennial calls for improvement, suggesting that they result from something more than just misunderstanding. The persistence of poor methods results partly from incentives that favour them, leading to the natural selection of bad science. This dynamic requires no conscious strategizing—no deliberate cheating nor loafing—by scientists, only that publication is a principal factor for career advancement. Some normative methods of analysis have almost certainly been selected to further publication instead of discovery. In order to improve the culture of science, a shift must be made away from correcting misunderstandings and towards rewarding understanding. We support this argument with empirical evidence and computational modelling. We first present a 60-year meta-analysis of statistical power in the behavioural sciences and show that power has not improved despite repeated demonstrations of the necessity of increasing power. To demonstrate the logical consequences of structural incentives, we then present a dynamic model of scientific communities in which competing laboratories investigate novel or previously published hypotheses using culturally transmitted research methods. As in the real world, successful labs produce more ‘progeny,’ such that their methods are more often copied and their students are more likely to start labs of their own. Selection for high output leads to poorer methods and increasingly high false discovery rates. We additionally show that replication slows but does not stop the process of methodological deterioration. Improving the quality of research requires change at the institutional level.
science  politics  bad-science  economics  academia  read-later 
september 2016 by kmt
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